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Common Goose Barnacles

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Scientific name:  Lepas anatifera

Size:  Shells are approx 40mm across.  The thin peduncle can be over 150mm long

Distribution:  Found around much of the UK, especially on the Atlantic coastal areas

Months seen:  All year round

Life span:  Up to 3 years

Habitat:  Goose barnacles normally live offshore attached to objects in the water, often in colonies numbering thousands.

Food:  Plankton

Special features:  The body of the goose barnacle consists of a long, rubbery, dark brown, slender foot (approx 10mm diameter) called a 'peduncle'.  At one end is the shell, which is a series of curved, white triangular plates.  Inside the shell are some delicate feathery fronds (called cirri) which comb through the water to filter out tiny food particles.

Goose barnacles are a type of crustacean, related to prawns and lobsters.  They are able to fertilise themselves (hermaphroditic).  The eggs hatch into larvae, which eventually moult into the adult barnacles.

The name 'Goose Barnacles' originates from the myth that these creatures would hatch into Barnacle Geese.

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